Memorable Manitobans: John James Conklin (1868-1952)
Born at Forest, Ontario on 23 June 1868, son of James D. Conklin, nephew of Elias George Conklin, he came to Manitoba with his family in 1881. From 1886 until his retirement in 1937 he spent fifty-one years with the Winnipeg Free Press, holding more positions than any other employee. The list of his duties at the paper included carrier boy, reporter, drama, music and movie critic, specialist on real estate and Winnipeg’s pioneers, telegraph, automobile and city editor, as well as editorial writer.
In addition for many years Conklin was a stringer for Canadian, American and British papers including the Toronto Star, Chicago Tribune, London Times and London Daily Mail. Finally, for over twenty-five years he was Western correspondent for the Canadian Moving Picture Digest, and after 1920 edited the Victoria Beach Herald for twenty-five years. Until his death, Conklin was still writing despite diabetic retinopathy and gangrene of his toes. In his final months he dictated his stories to his wife who typed his work. His blindness was so bad that she even had to stuff the envelopes.
On 15 December 1904, he married Bertha Wilson at Winnipeg. They had four children: Aidan Hamilton Conklin, Elmer Davidson Conklin (b 1907), Verona Mae Conklin (b 1910), and John Gladwin Conklin (b 1912).
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
We thank Murray Conklin for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 22 March 2016
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